Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Pasta Chronicles, Cont'd: Multigrain Pasta Dough

After several selfless attempts at perfecting a recipe for multigrain pasta dough, we finally hit upon a balance of ingredients last night that passed the delicious-enough-to-post threshold. [Update: This one is even better.] This should work for any noodle -- we've used versions of it for ravioli, pappardelle, and tagliolini, and the dough is elastic enough that it holds up to the thinner settings on the pasta machine without breaking. The elasticity seems to depend on the protein content (more protein = more elastic), which is something to keep in mind if you decide to tweak the recipe below: the quinoa and chickpea flours are fairly high in protein, so if you substitute whole wheat flour or another grain, you may need to increase the egg and/or milk to compensate. Conversely, if you increase the amount of high-protein grain flour, you could reduce or cut out the milk entirely.

3/4 cups stone ground whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 tsp salt
Liberal dousing of freshly ground white or black pepper (optional)*
2 pastured eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
Scant 2 tbsp milk + 2 tbsp warm water

*White pepper complements winter squash recipes, and black pepper goes particularly well with lemon or basil. If you do use pepper, make sure you don't grind it too coarsely (big pieces can rip the dough as you get to the thinner pasta machine settings).

Combine the flours, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Make a well in the middle and add the olive oil and eggs, then use a fork to begin blending the flour at the edge of the well into the center of the eggs. Add the water and milk slowly as you blend, and continue until it takes on a fairly uniform consistency. (You can do this on a cutting board instead, but the Household Kneader, after trying it both ways, says it's much easier in a bowl.)

Dust a cutting board and your hands with flour, then take the dough out of the bowl. Knead for about 10 minutes, dusting the board with additional flour as needed, until the dough is very elastic. Form a ball, then set in a lightly greased bowl and cover with saran wrap. Let rest for about 30 minutes.

To form the noodles, take a ball of dough about the size of your fist, dust very lightly with flour if it's sticky, and run it through the widest setting of your pasta machine. Fold in half, and repeat. Fold the ends in to create a rectangle, and run it through once more (the goal is to have a fairly rectangular sheet that's on the wide side). Adjust the pasta machine to the next setting, and run through again. Continue decreasing the width, one setting at a time, until you reach setting 7, laying the sheet of dough on a cutting board lightly dusted with flour once in the middle if necessary.

For cut noodles (e.g., fettuccine, tagliolini), hang the pasta sheets on a pasta tree to dry for about 20 minutes, then run each sheet through the pasta machine attachment of your choice.

For pappardelle:
After you finish rolling each sheet, lay it gently on the lightly-floured cutting board to cut the pappardelle noodles (a pastry cutter works well for this, or just use a paring knife). We made our noodles just under 3/4" wide, but you can make them whatever width you'd like (just don't forget that they expand quite a bit when you cook them).

To cook, bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pappardelle, stir, and cover to bring back to a boil quickly. Boil for 3 minutes or until al dente.

Serves 3-4 when making noodles. For ravioli, you probably only need half as much.

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